Old Course, St. Andrews, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scotland, KY16 9SF
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15 reviews of Old Course
After years of trying to book a round on the Old Course I finally did and it was worth the wait. Standing on the first tee waiting to tee off is magical knowing you are going to play on ground that great golfers have walked for centuries. The best holes are 1st, 11th, 13th, 17th and 18th all for different reasons, I'll not tell why go and find out it's worth the wait.
Well, a trip to the Old Course, something we all have to do right? Well after many years of dreaming I finally headed off to the Auld Grey Toon to experience where the game of golf started. The place is oozing with tradition and its safe to say I wasn't disappointed at all. Although we played on a day which was relatively calm which make the course fairly easy if honest (keep it left!) the experience was everything I wanted it to be. If you've not been you have to go. It was really good value travelling in the low season so see if you can go then as it is far cheaper than going in the summer.
This was the first round played on a trip to Scotland. Had no reservation, but my jet-lag had me up at 4.40 am, so I went down to the starter booth at 5 am or so, and was the first in line. By 6 am the line was 30-deep. AS a single, I was put in with the first opening, which happened to be with three members of the R and A. After round, they invited me in for a drink - great luck for me....As for the course, I did not have a caddy because of the R and A members knowledge, but it could be needed as there are some blind shots. Of all the courses on the trip, this one required the most bounce up shots. Would not trade this experience because of all the history which is great, plus some really classic holes such as 17, 18, 14, 7, 11 etc, but the course is quite flat and in some places non-descript -such as 8-9-10. Here's a tip - no play on sundays, but available for walking around, so go out there and get some great photos of the 17th, 18th , and the town in the background.
I played this course in the middle of June as a surprise for my 21st birthday including rounds on the Jubilee and New Course on a 4 day break. This course must be played by every serious golfer in there lifetime. The course was in excellent condition considering the amount of rain we'd had at the time. Before playing the old ive heard the New course was supposedly tougher. I don't agree. The split greens and undulating fairways on the old are immense. I came and watched the 2005 Open on the old for the week and to play the same course as such greats was truely memorable. To play holes like the Road Hole, make par get up and down out of the valley of sin for a par and smash a drive down the 1st makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! The course is fairly short of the the yellow tees good drives will leave 8 iron to wedges in however birdies are hard to come by due to the severatity of the greens and bunkers surrounding them. Greens were nice and firm and we were the best out of the 3 courses. All in all as the yanks would say and awesome occasion!
Had the great pleasure of playing the Old Course at the back end of last season as a result of qualifying for a final on a corporate day. We had the pleasure of staying in the hotel as well, which was out of this world, but made even better by the fact it was free! Was fortunate to tee off on a lovely, mildly windy day. We were lucky, the following day it was howling and coming down in stair-rods. The course itself was in terrific condition, just as I'd expected. My only aim on the day was to get off the first tee at the home of golf with so many people stood watching - thankfully, I achieved my aim. I was delighted to play exceptionally well on the day, managing to avoid all bunkers all the way around. At the turn I was actually one under gross, though the back 9 played a lot harder as the wind really did get up and saw me play to my handicap. But overall I genuinely didn't really see where the difficulty of playing the course was provided you could (a) hit straight and (b) were a reasonable reader of greens. That said, looking at where some of the pro tees were i know that would be a different ball game! Some of the greens were huge - far bigger than I'd imagined. The roadhole was all I'd imagined and it was a great feeling to hit one straight over the corner of the Clubhouse just as I'd dreamt of doing during the week, and walk off with a straightforward par. The history, pomp and ceremony that go with playing the Old Course make it well worth the visit, but is it worth the fee and is it all it's made out to be in terms of the actual golf? Personally, I'm not sure - a great course, don't get me wrong, but given a choice of the Old Course or Royal Dornoch, the latter would win hands down every time.
forget what anyone says about this not being a difficult test of golf blah blah blah etc etc tee off in front of the clubhouse (600 years of history on that first tee) play at golfs equivilent of the Maracana, wembley, the arms park, lords, old trafford, gresty road crewe: all of which you'll never play at walk and play where the gods have played play the road hole hit a second into the 18th over the valley of sin in front of the biggest gallery you will ever play before shake hands and then tell me its not worth the ton if you are a golfer and its not in your top ten to do before you die then please change your list if you have played at gresty road them I'm sorry and I take it all back
Played the course 12/6/2003 with a Links Trust member (still had to pay the £105 greenfee)who was useful with yardage advice. Great clubhouse facilities for visitors - revenue is obviously ploughed back into providing a wonderful setup for visiting golfers. Still feel SGU members should have some discount on greenfees like St.Andrews residents, though at a less advantageous rate (wrote to the Links Trust about this but they gave me short shrift). The course is weak about the turn where fairways crossover and greens can be driven at par 4s but the town looms large in the background as you play the last half dozen holes and it really is a memorable experience. Can see how some might not think its all its cracked up to be (especially when you are paying a fair whack to play). And if one more commentator says you have to play it several times to fully appreciate it, I'll scream! Yeh, I'll just keep paying over a ton at a time until I get the hang of the place...
Mr Booths comments with reference to the Old Course display a clear lack of understanding as to what constitutes a great golf course. Admittedly it takes several rounds on the course to appreciate the classic nature of this unique links, but with it's fine natural contours, intimidating bunkers and massive greens, nothing matches the Old in world golf. I realise that it has it's detractors but they are simply missing the point.
St Andrews is quite possibly the most over rated course in the whole of Scotland. Greens are absolutely dreadful and is really not all that difficult. Why the Americans bother to play this course at all is beyond me when you think of all the other courses we have in Scotland. They should take a visit over the Tay Bridge and a play a mans golf course. The one and only Carnoustie Championship which is by far and away the best golf course in Scotland.
A wonderful golf experience that should not be missed. We played on a cool October day right before the Dunhill Cup. The course was in great shape and work was being done on it every day for the Dunhill. I would offer a couple of pieces of advice. Make your reservation as far as possible in advance. Do not depend on the "ballot" to get your time. The ballot is always overscribed and you have at best a 1 in 5 chance in getting a time. If you can find a local member that is willing to take you your chances are much better. If all else fails, you can go the "single" route. If you do this you must get to the starters hut very early. I arrived at 4:30 am and was #8 in line. Most days I was in St. Andrews about 20 people got out doing this. The first and second in line arrived at 2:45 am. I teed off at 8:20 am as two groups did not show up in the first hour. If you have a number you should not stray that far from the 1st tee. On Thursday we saw some guys get right out as there were no singles from the que at the starters hut and a group was short. If you are persistant and patient you can get out. My Dad holed the birdie putt of a lifetime on 18 to close out our trip. We marked it at eighty feet(the green is 55 yards wide). It was a great moment as about fifty people were gathered watching the action on 18 and they all cheered. The caddies are worth the money. The Old Course has its quirks and most cadddies knew them well. In closing,the experience was well worth the effort. I will never forget this round.
My last 4 days in Scotland were spent in St. Andrews and as a golf fanatic, I was in a daze for all four of them. Played the old course in a 35 mile an hour north wind and I was literally blown away. It doesn't blow like this in Canada too often. 2nd hole was 360 and I hit a drive on the screws followed by a low well struck 1 iron and was still 20 yards shot of the green. Coming home hit a drive on the 340 yard 16th that found the green. Wind at St. Andrews is everything. This course drips with history and you can feel all the greats at every turn. Bunkers with famous names, double greens, drivable par fours, tough par threes and the Swilcan Burn/Bridge. Plus the Road Hole. Playing this great hole was the thrill of my trip. Making 4 out of the road bunker was worth the airfare on its own. But you need to play this course more than once and with a caddie the first time if possible. Another hint...take a lesson from Constantino Rocca, don't hesitate to use your putter from well off the greens, the lies are so tight around here that you need the touch of a surgeon to get a sand wedge under the ball. Anything less than perfect strikes and you can end up anywhere. Make sure you visit the Dunvegan for a drink, Tip used to drink here. This place is truly the greatest of them all.
What more can be said about the ultimate golf course? I was lucky enough to be a student at St Andrews University from 1988-1992 and took full advantage of the facilities! In those days, a student could buy a yearly permit for 100 dollars that would allow them to play any of the (then 4 now 5) courses in the town! Like Mr Paul above, I have also teed off at about 4:30 am one summer's morning (after a drunken bet the night before) but didn't have any trouble with course security or light. Suffice to say though that I did have trouble hitting the ball decently after 2 hours sleep and 8 pints of Guinness sloshing around! If you haven't played the course before, you will need to submit your name into the ballot system by 3pm on the day BEFORE you wish to play. Then it's a bit of a lottery what sort of time you will be given (although you may specify a preference) or whether you can play at all. This is particularly difficult of course in the summer months (May-August) when our American and Japanese golfing colleagues descend en-masse to the hallowed turf. But do persevere and make sure you get a round in - it's pure magic! All the best, and keep your heads down! Nick
Played a few holes of this course at 4:30am. It is truly wonderful, though difficult to see where your balls gone at night! I think i would play better by day (and if sober!). much cheaper by night (save yourself £75), but chance of getting caught by roaming security.
Played the Old Course 16/07/99. It was everthing I dreamed it would be. The caddies we had were very helpful in getting around the course, and not embarassing myself to much. Can wait to get back.
I am looking for information on James Braid, your celebrated golfer and course designer. I don't get much when I type his name on the net but your course must have archives/photographs of Mr. Braid. I am researching for a dear friend of mine here in Canada. A scottish born direct descendant of James Braid, she would be thrilled with any history of him. Her Mother's maiden name is Braid and she thinks James was her great uncle. Thankyou for your help.
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